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Hackett/Longwater Gulch report 2/7/15

ExplorerTom

Well-Known Member
We met up just outside of Divide at the planned gas station. We had myself in the Explorer, Brandon in the XJ, Nate in his JK Rubi with expiring 60 day tags (still has plenty of that new car smell though), David in his street tire shod 80-series and James, a newcomer that found us on Meet Up, in his 2.5 week old JK Rubi.

Everyone was on time and gassed up shortly after 9. The drive up to Hackett Gulch seems to get longer each time I've done it. Cedar Mountain Road, the "road" that each of the Gulch trails start from was covered in snow and frozen slush. At some point I couldn't take the harsh ride and elected to pull over and air down, disconnect and softened up.

We started with Hackett because it's first along Cedar Mountain Road. Really no other reason than that. We scoffed at the "most difficult" trail rating on the sign at the top. We quickly made it to Hackett Rock where even that didn't give us much of a problem. It's steep but traction is pretty good- you can hear the sand and gravel covering the rock cause the tires to slip ever so slightly, but that's about it. As we were getting the group up, a Jeep from the Front Range 4x4 forum caught up to us. He said he was the first of about 6 or so.

Once up and clear of the rock, we continued our way down to the river, stopping here and there for some photos. Brandon and I elected for the hard line off the rock ledge. My line wasn't very smooth. A loud bang, a scrape and a bent up license plate, I was down. I think Brandon managed to get down without even a scrape. We continued down the remaining tight trail to the river where we had lunch.

We knew those others were behind us so we waited for awhile. Eventually we sent Brandon up the trail as a scout. He wasn't even out of site from us when the group finally came down. They proceeded to cut down one of the dead trees to have a fire to cook some hot dogs. I didn't see it, but apparently when the tree came down, it nearly hit a couple of people in their group.

We left right as they were cutting the tree down because we had seen all there was to see and we had 2 more trails planned for the day. Brandon led us up that tight section of trail and proceeded to get his diff stuck on a rock. We got him free just by pushing him back off the rock. After he took a better line, he was clear and headed up the trail. Nate cleared it no problem. I followed and tried to get my right front tire in the rock that Brandon got hung up on. I missed. Instead I went high and my rear end slid sideways onto a different rock and my rear diff was really hung up. We stacked some rocks. We dug a little. But I wasn't moving. So I got out the brand new MaxTrax. After trying forward motion with the MTs, only the front tire could get traction and pulled the MT under the tire. The rear was placed behind the left rear and it got traction almost immediately and it felt like I shot backwards off the rock.

We finished up Hackett without too much further issue and headed up the road to the next trail: Longwater Gulch.
 

ExplorerTom

Well-Known Member
Longwater Gulch is very similar to Hackett Gulch. Both start at the highest elevation and go down toward the river and have one large rock obstacle. I chose an interesting line down the rock. I was all the way to the left. It wasn't the best line. But I got down with no issues. Everyone else opted for a "down the center" line. Looked a lot better. I'll have to remember that for next time.

Soon after the rock we came met 11 Jeeps from Mile Hi Jeep Club with anything from stock to highly modified rigs. We let them pass and we continued the trail down to the river. We spent a little time at the river before heading back up. We caught the Jeep Club at the rock with about half their group over. I was glad to see this as it allowed me to watch their lines. Sure enough, those rigs that weren't open diff took the middle line.

We all scaled the rock with ease and continued on our way, stopping here and there for more pics. We decided that the day was nearing its end and didn't want to push our luck with going for that 3rd trail. No one had anything other than stock headlights. We stopped midway down Cedar Mtn Road to air up, reconnect and stiffen up before heading home.

As I was driving back toward Divide, I was looking at my map. From where County Road 3 bisects Cedar Mtn Road and heads north to Hwy 67, that looked like a nice shortcut. I turned around and headed back that direction, passing everyone in the group. I had turned my CB off at that point and I think they had all said they were taking I-25 back anyway. I was expecting CR 3 to be a dirt road and no big deal. And it was. Until the sign that said "high clearance 4wd only beyond this point". 90% of the road was more like a trail than a dirt road. It was like Cedar Mtn Rd was in the afternoon, all slushy and wet, except more wet and muddy. And longer. But it was a fun drive. Just wished I had my offroad lights installed for it. And sway bar disconnected.

We need to go back and bag Metberry Gulch. There are also some other trails in the area to maximize our dirt time.

Also, I was looking on Google Earth where Longwater Gulch crosses the river. The trail appears to connect to Goose Creek Rd. Of course it's not on the MVUM. It goes through more burn area in Douglas County. I may call the Ranger office and ask about it. Or stop at the office in Morrison.
 

Brandon

Well-Known Member
Good write up. When I came down that rock cliff I did manage to hit hard on the xfer case skid, but all was well.

I figured you were headed along the backroads when you passed us but was not sure. And the last time I tried to follow the backroads I ended up wasting a lot of time after finding a dead end. Did that route cut any time off your travel or did the 4x4 area slow you down?
 

ExplorerTom

Well-Known Member
Probably slowed me down. It was shorter, but slower.

With the digital MVUM, I was pretty confident the road would take me where I needed to go. I really like that thing.